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Cleveland Clinic Panel: Patient Engagement is Essential to Healthcare Mobile Apps [Podcast]

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer
Dr Wayne Guerra

Dr Wayne Guerra

[2014 Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Speaker Podcast] In our continuing series of leadership interviews, Stewart Gandolf, CEO of Healthcare Success talks with Wayne Guerra, MD, Co-founder of iTriage, a popular mobile healthcare app. Dr. Guerra will be participating in a panel session titled, Game Changers in Mobile Apps at the 5th Annual Patient Experience: Empathy Plus Innovation Summit hosted in Cleveland, Ohio by Cleveland Clinic from May 18-21.

Mobile technology is bringing timely and useful medical information to the convenience of our pocket. With over 140 million smartphones in use throughout the US, mobile applications have become virtual game changers for how patients interact with the healthcare system.

In this podcast, Dr. Wayne Guerra and Stewart Gandolf previewed the upcoming panel presentation at Cleveland Clinic’s Patient Experience Summit on this topic, and the ability of mobile healthcare apps to improve patient care and the patient experience.

As co-founder of the free medical app, Dr. Guerra explains that iTriage helps people take charge of their health by answering two fundamental questions about healthcare: “What could be wrong with my health?” And, “Where can I go for care or help?” iTriage is now one of the most widely downloaded apps with millions of monthly users and page views.

How can medical apps improve patient care?

The patient’s need for healthcare and medical information happens outside of the provider’s office, Dr. Guerra explained. What’s more, patients increasingly want to be more involved in their healthcare and medical decisions, with greater access to information. And that’s a good thing.

Mobile healthcare applications can quickly provide information directly to the patient that’s timely and relevant, and at their time of need. They are empowered to make better decisions about their symptoms, their condition, about procedures and tests…they provide decision support, access to the healthcare system, and some apps help an individual communicate with their doctor.

How can medical apps impact patient experience?

With respect to medical apps, Dr. Guerra said, “It’s all about the patient experience.” More informed decision-making is having the information that you need, at the time of need. And apps are uniquely qualified to do that.

Generally speaking, there are several primary categories of apps:

    • Dietary Apps: For food education, caloric tracking, weight management, observing diet and nutrition recommendations.
    • Exercise Apps: For tracking and recording walking, exercise, activity and related data.
    • Health Management Apps: Helping guide better, more informed healthcare decisions, such as iTriage.
    • Health Information Apps: For deeper and more comprehensive information, such as WebMD.
    • Chronic Disease Management Apps: For the management or treatment of a specific condition, such as hypertension or asthma.

What is the biggest take-away idea?

"Patient engagement is absolutely essential to achieving the triple aim of Improved Care, Lower Cost, and Improved Patient Experience.” Mobile apps need to continue to do “user-centered design,” according to Dr. Guerra. That is, designing a UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) that directly addresses a specific need or problem. “And when we do that in healthcare apps, we will see increased patient engagement."


    • Cleveland Clinic Speaker Series: Wayne Guerra, MD, Co-founder, iTriage
    • 2014 Patient Experience Summit: Healthcare Game Changers in Mobile Apps

Individuals who will be at the Patient Experience Summit will want to attend the panel discussion with Dr. Guerra on Sunday, May 18th. [Check Agenda]

FOR MORE in this continuing educational leadership series, previous Healthcare Success interviews are available on this page. And for more information about the Cleveland Clinic 5th Annual Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit, click through to this page.

# # #

Wayne Guerra, MD, MBA, is a former emergency medicine physician with a commitment to helping consumers make better healthcare decisions. He is the Co-founder and former Chief Medical Officer of iTriage, and currently advises iTriage and Aetna’s Consumer Business division. Dr. Guerra has more than 20 years of excellence in clinical and academic emergency medicine and earned his medical and undergraduate degrees at UCLA and his MBA from University of Denver.

Stewart Gandolf and Lonnie Hirsch will be speaking at the Summit where Healthcare Success is also a Supporting Partner for the patient experience conference at the Cleveland Convention Center, May 18 -21, 2014

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